Being in a partial Coronavirus lockdown, I’m looking for some nearby trails that I haven’t done yet which won’t be too busy. The Duckholes Trail looks appealing, although I soon discover this is about the most boring hike I’ve done in a very long time. The trail starts on McCarrs Creek Rd; it’s a little tricky to find as there’s no signage. Park near the Coal and Candle Rural Fire Brigade sign (301 McCarrs Creek Rd) and follow the sealed driveway downhill under you reach a locked gate. The sign on the gate states “Terrey Hills Trail” – but it’s better known as the Duck Holes Trail . You can also ignore the distance on the sign (1.7km), which is wrong.
The first 1.5km or so passes behind a row of properties, but being large acreage blocks there’s no sign of people and you can’t see any houses. It’s not unpleasant walking, although unlike there are a few puddles and muddy sections.
I pass one other walker and a couple of mountain-bikers – the trail is shared with bikes and horses. But it’s pretty quiet, which is what I hoped…
Did I mention the Duckholes Trail is rather boring? There’s no variation in the vegetation and no views. Good for getting some exercise, but not a bushwalk I’d recommend. After 3.5km the firetrail starts to descend, and according to my topoographic map at the 4km mark there’s a junction with another firetrail that I can take to form a loop, back to the start. However, I can’t see any firetrail. I’m standing right where the trail should be, and after a bit of exploring I see a rusted gate post. But any trace of a trail has been obliterated, the bush reclaiming what was once a six-foot wide service trail.
I continue downhill along the Duckholes Trail; the one nice spot along the track, just before it reaches the road, is a small set of cascades on McCarrs Creek which is just off the main trail.
A few hundred metres further and the Duckholes Trail meets McCarrs Creek Road. I’ve got a few choices from here:
- return the same way back up Duckholes Trail (10.2km in total)
- continue down McCarrs Creek Road and then up West Head Road, taking the Centre Track back to form a loop (11.5km)
- walk up McCarrs Creek Road to form a shorter loop (8.6km as described here)
I decide to take the road back as it’s getting late; a rather bad idea in hindsight as there’s no shoulder on the narrow road. While the Duckholes Trail is pretty uninspiring, the road-walk back is even worse… this is definitely not a bushwalk I’ll undertake again!
(Not far from the end of the Duckhole Trail is The Duckhole, on the other side of McCarrs Creek Road. There’s a really cool track along McCarrs Creek, which I explore a few days later… This short walk is definitely worth doing.)
0.0km Parking area on McCarrs Creek Road (near Fire Brigade sign) 0.3km Locked gate and start of firetrail 3.5km Junction with non-existent firetrail! 5.1km End of firetrail (McCarrs Creek Road) 8.6km Parking area (via McCarrs Creek Road)
More information on the Duckholes Trail
There’s not much information on this trail – although it’s mentioned on a few mountain-biking pages. The track is more popular for mountain biking and horse-riding than bushwalking. It’s a relatively easy MTB track, but there are a few steep sections – especially at the northern end.
For more bushwalks (as well as swimming spots and other activities) visit the Guide to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
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